How is the use of e-cigarettes sustained in the customers with serious health symptoms?
 
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1
Health Institute Association, Turkey
2
Marmara University, Turkey
Publication date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A807
 
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WCTOH
 
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ABSTRACT
Background:
In Turkey there are no legal sales of electronic cigarettes however illegal sales continue through internet and social media forum. The customers of these sites frequently post serious health complaints related to the use of product but do not quit. This study was carried out to understand how the e-cigarette social forum adminstrators respond to the health issues and what they recommend.

Methods:
A survey was carried out at a social media forum with more than 60 thousand members.The titles and messages on health complaints and responses were analyzed.
The messages with unauthoritized health recommendations to prevent the customers quitting were evaluated.

Results:
Social forum had a section on the complaints of the products and related health problems with 166 headings and 9588 messages. The symptoms were reported 3 weeks to 3 months after the use of e-cigarettes. The most frequent symptoms were related to respiratory system, oral cavity and gums. 2830 of the messages were responded by an anonymous admin(s). Of these responses 48 % recommended the change of ingredients, % 24 claimed that health complaints were not related with e-cigarette use, % 13 attributed the symptoms to quitting classical cigarettes, 6 % reassured that the problem will soon disappear and recommended the continuation of e-cigarettes, 7 % proposed herbal medicine, 5 % actual pharmaceutical drugs, only 5 % to consult to a medical expert.

Conclusions:
Members of this internet forum who used a product which is not legally available, they tended not to apply to regular health clinics in case of harmful effects. The forum administrators tried their best to sustain the addiction in spite of very serious complaints.
Control over the websites and social forums must be part of the tobacco control enforcement strategies.

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